Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shaved Zucchini Salad with pine nuts and parmesan

This is a summer recipe, I'll admit. And I don't know about for you guys, but man, here, I'm a little late to the party. All the other blogs are posting pictures of pumpkin-y things and cinnamon and chai, and here I am, hung up on zucchini... But I couldn't not share this recipe with you guys just because it's almost October. Seriously. It's good.

There's a certain point in the summer where the internet blows up with recipes using zucchini, because anyone who's ever tried to grow this hardy plant in their garden knows that zucchini is the sort of home-grown vegetable that just keeps giving...and giving...and giving. But even if you're not the home-growing type (like me - I've only ever managed herbs), I bet you there's still some nice zucchini squash at the grocery.

So do yourself a favor, the next nice day you have! Throw something on the grill and make this quick and easy salad, and appreciate the sunshine and the flavors of summer.

 This is one of those things that comes together in the blink of an eye, and the flavors are spectacular, the kind of combination that always tastes sunny. Refreshing green zucchini serves as a delivery device for a dressing made of bright citrus and sharp garlic. Top it off with the crunch of toasted pine nuts and a little bit of parmesan, and you've got yourself a winning side dish.

And the biggest sell of this recipe for me (at the time) was that it didn't involve turning my kitchen into an inferno. Okay, most salads don't involve turning your kitchen into an inferno, but don't you get tired of romaine tossed in vinaigrette? I do! This use of zucchini is a great alternative, and it pairs beautifully with lighter dishes such as chicken, fish, or (as I served it) honey-mustard-lime rubbed pork loin and some corn on the cob off the grill.

I could see the look in Sparky's eyes - he didn't think he'd like it. But one bite in, he was ready to wipe out the whole bowl.

Check after the jump for the recipe - and if it's a sunny day today, get out there and enjoy it while you still can!

Shaved Zucchini Salad
serves 2

2 medium zucchini
1/2 onion

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
1/2 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup grated Parmsan OR 10-12 strips, shaved from block with peeler.

Wash your zucchini thoroughly. Then, using a vegetable peeler, begin to 'peel' the zucchini flesh into ribbons, turning the zucchini as you do to achieve varying widths of ribbons. Stop peeling when you get to the core of seeds, as this portion of the zucchini is too watery for our purposes - you can use it elsewhere or discard it. Immediately set your zucchini ribbons in a sieve or colander over the sink and let it drain while you prepare the rest of the salad. Zucchini gives off a lot of liquid, and you don't want your salad to be watery.

Slice your onion in half from root to crown. Peel, then slice into very thin strips.

Spread your pine nuts in a dry skillet and toast them slowly over low heat, just until they smell fragrant and take a little color. Remove from pan immediately and set aside to cool.

In a bowl or a jar, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk / shake the jar to combine thoroughly.

Assemble the salad: pat any remaining moisture from the zucchini ribbons with a paper towel, then toss with the onion and the dressing (add the dressing gradually, to achieve correct dressing-salad ratio). Garnish with pine nuts and parmesan. I only had the grated stuff, but it'd be great if you had a block of it and could toss in some parmesan shavings.

Grilled alternative: Throw the zucchini ribbons on a well-oiled hot grill for exactly 30 seconds for a slightly warm variation. This also helps address the issue of moisture.

1 comment:

  1. i LOVE pine nuts, but why do they have to be so goddamn expensive? it's totally ridank.


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